Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day 33: Hail, Aspen and Mud

5/25: mile 11.8-720.4
Miles: 20.8
Total trip miles: 577.4

Back to the hiking life. We headed to breakfast (the best of the mediocre meals at Ghost Ranch). 

Then it was time to pack up, clean up and squeeze in one more shower. Plus Funsize was working with his sister getting all the last minute details sorted out. Jumping into a thruhike when everyone around you has hiked over 500 miles is a big undertaking. 

Last minute chores and a little gossip with the hikers just arriving saw us actually on the trail close to 11. A bigger group for sure with Funsize, Shannon, Mountain Spice, Bigfoot and Lionheart. We followed the Box Canyon Trail out of Ghost Ranch. What a truly pretty spot. 

We started out hiking together but soon enough spread apart. I turned to head uphill at an intersection and saw Bigfoot heading the wrong way after I had started climbing, he didn't hear me shouting so you just hope he checks his GPS sooner than later. After that it was head down time, the views were beautiful but the skies opened up and started pouring hail down. Then a bit of rain, with my umbrella up I just kept climbing. The rain didn't last for too long but it made a good chunk of the climbs slippery mess. I finally stopped at a tricky intersection and everyone reappeared (even Bigfoot). Then it was time to cross country up the ridge. Turns out both Bigfoot and I separately got nice and off track, southbound anyone? 

I managed to hook back up with Funsize, Shannon and Mountain Spice and we continued on our way. Dark clouds and cold wind followed us down the muddy road. A perfect introduction to the CDT in New Mexico for Shannon; dirt roads, cows, mud, erratic weather and at least half the group regularly losing the trail. 

During a break Bigfoot and Lionheart appeared, Lionheart had not be lost but of course Bigfoot had. Apparently I had figured out I was off trail a little quicker. After the break was another nice climb and Bigfoot and I pulled ahead of the others. A short little half mile of cross country (that I did not get lost on!) and we were up on a ridge line. Looking at snow capped Colorado, it is ridiculously close. 

This area is beautiful and so surprising. I really didn't know what to expect from this state but it's been amazing throughout. 

Across meadows along muddy dirt roads and through more stunning country. There was a nice trough/spring about 14 miles into the day. Of course right as we got there is started full on raining with pretty scary thunder not far behind. We had caught Messed Up in the climb and we all hid under a tree for a snack break. Bigfoot and I waited for a bit but no one else showed up and it was super cold. Bigfoot headed out first and I followed, and yet again we both went the wrong way. This time he heard me shout and it was a pretty nice little jaunt through some Aspen to find the trail. 

It's crazy how much water is everywhere. We keep hearing about how dry 2014 was, that is clearly not an issue for us this year. At least not in New Mexico. We continued on a bit farther, getting cranky when we yet again lost the trail. Not many signs today and apparently neither of us was paying close enough attention. 

It took awhile but we found a spot a bit off trail in some trees. Thankfully not in a mud puddle or the nearby meadow. It feels like its going to be a cold night and tomorrow we hike back over 10000 ft. I'm hoping the snow isn't to tough on us. And maybe I'll find the rest of the group. I'm guessing they are a bit behind but with the number of times we were off trail you can never be certain. Either way we'll all be in Chama soon enough.  

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